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Is your small business brand boring?

Think about the last time you needed a new washing machine. It’s an investment, so you go online and dutifully start comparing different models. As you scroll through pages and pages of product specs, all the information starts to blur in your mind. You forget which appliances you’ve already looked at. It’s all just so…boring.

When deciding what to spend your hard-earned cash on, having the right information is obviously important. But facts and figures are only part of the story.

At the end of the day, every customer needs to be convinced to buy a given product, and boring copy just doesn’t do the trick. To connect with potential buyers, brands must know how to truly speak to them. This is where a brand’s tone comes in.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Tone refers to the style of communication. It’s what distinguishes a sports drink business such as Red Bull – which comes across as energetic, bold and fun – from an ultraluxury hotel brand like Rosewood, which exudes elegance and exclusivity.

Whether warm and light-hearted or authoritative and trustworthy, a consistent tone of voice can convey your brand’s personality and values, establishing a recognisable identity and setting you apart from competitors.

Tone is also great for triggering an emotional response – and emotions are hugely influential in people’s purchasing decisions.

Consider how sportswear companies always sound ambitious, pushing people to achieve their fitness goals – after buying new running shoes or gym clothes, of course. Or how antivirus software companies scare you with a plethora of cyber risks, then allay your fears by assuring you of their dependable and robust solutions.

Even in business-to-business (B2B) communications, which tend to have a professionally detached and corporate tone, you can still use engaging language that appeals to your audience’s needs. They’re people after all, and people respond when they have a reason to believe in what you’re selling.

A Quickfire Guide to Crafting Your Tone

  • Define your brand’s mission, values and unique selling points – then build your tone around them. What do you offer and why is it special? What kind of image do you want your brand to project?
  • Do your research. Find out what your target audience is looking for and tailor your brand’s tone accordingly. Consider how you would speak to them face-to-face.
  • Create a style guide. Having consistent and correct copy not only looks better but also establishes your brand’s personality and messaging. Include a list of words and imagery that create positive associations for your brand, as well as a list of what you might want to avoid.
  • Consider your channels. It’s typically acceptable to sound less formal in a short social media post. On the other hand, a B2B white paper emailed to high-level corporate executives should adopt an authoritative tone that demonstrates your company’s industry expertise.

Remember: your brand might have the most fantastic product, but if your copy is boring, you could alienate your audience and lose potential customers. No one has time for boring.